Our Story - Karma
A mysterious parcel arrived from India, unannounced. Tightly bound in hand stitched muslin, it was as if from a different era......
It was a gift of purses from my Indian guide, to thank me for recommending him to other travelers and friends.
Now I faced an uncomfortable dilemma. I knew the guide could not afford such a generous gift, but neither would he accept payment from me. What to do? For some inexplicable reason, I sold the purses online and sent him the proceeds of the sale Done! .... Or not.... For, a month later, an even larger parcel arrived from India, containing even MORE purses.
"Why didn't you just keep the money?" I asked, exasperated. He patiently explained, "If you give one person the money, then only one person benefits. But if you use the money to buy purses from all the families that make the purses, then they all benefit, and you receive their blessings and thanks."
I could use some blessings and thanks, couldn't we all? I was in....
And what timing! When India closed its borders during the Covid pandemic, the handicraft market - traditionally tied to tourism - collapsed overnight. There was no work. These highly skilled embroiderers, most with over 25 years experience, were forced to work in shoe factories or sell vegetables in the streets to survive. When I heard the alarming news that this venerable fifth generation embroidery house might close, I had to do something. For, if you lose one generation of artisans, you risk losing the entire art form. For who will teach the next generation?
I asked how I could help.
"Send us work" they replied. Work provided the dignity, respect, and therapy the artisans needed.
What to do with all the beautiful purses and boxes they created?
If the world could not come to India, then India must go to the world. I created this website for the artisans, so that the whole world would see their amazing work, and to provide them economic diversification and stability.
I am inspired by the amazing talent and creativity of the zardozi artisans of India. I am on a mission to share the beauty and complexity of zardozi embroidery with the world and to preserve this remarkable art form.
It gives me great joy that, because of your support through this website, the embroiderers in the atelier have all returned to their beloved embroidery. And we supported over 100 families with donations of much needed food staples during Covid.
When you purchase an item from our artisans, you receive not only a stunning work of art that makes you feel beautiful and confident, you also receive the blessings and thanks of the artisans, for investing in their talent, for honoring their legacy, for providing their livelihood, and for ensuring the continuity of their craft.
Karma. It is real. I know it. Find out for yourself....